PLQ1.3 – Information Formats

Hello BIMfans,
Now that I have established by Data Requirements related to my Model Purposes, I need to know what format I need this information in, as the format I choose will impact on how I can use my information.

Ok, imagine I stay in this home for 15 years.  I’ll need to make sure that the information I collect can still be read in 15 years time, right?

Well it isn’t as simple as it sounds.  For example, floppy disks were still a standard way of exchanging information 15 years ago, and were still being sold in the UK less than a decade ago!  Now it would be very difficult to access information on a floppy disk.

“Ohh cool, they look just like a save button” – Children everywhere

This problem also extends from the physical to the digital.  For example, SketchUp, since it started in 2000, has been owned by three different companies.  Who’ll own it in another 15 years time, and will it still be able to open these files?  The software I was trained in (Revit) has been showed to open files at least 10 years old but opening old Revit files isn’t always done smoothly, with similar issues also reported when opening older Excel files.  There is also the worry that the software used to create the files will no longer exist; even large companies like Autodesk retired software, like when Volo View was made redundant by Design Review back in 2005.

There is also the issue of interoperability.  As I intend to use the information I produce within other tools, there needs to be a good exchange of information to prevent the loss of information.

Square Peg in a Round Hole
My House data if I’m not careful.

To follow the BIM Level 2 process, PAS 1192-2 suggests that an information exchange includes the native file formats (the file you produced within), COBie, and .pdf.  However this will dependant on where the information will be used.

To manage my information once it has been produced, I intend to use is Chimni. Chimni is an (in development) log book/dashboard based home management system which will include functionalities such as: Interactive floor plans, an asset registry, and document storage.  Thinking back to my prologue, Chimni appears to fit my methodology perfectly.

If you are serious about home management, Chimni is definitely worth a look

Through discussions with Nigel Wally and the Chimni team, the intention is that Chimni will accept several file formats (.jpeg, .pdf) as home information is likely to be received in this manner, as well as industry based formats such as IFC.

Therefore even though IFC is not required for BIM Level 2, I want to receive my information in IFC too.  Luckily, as I intend to also have COBie deliverables, my Data Requirements are all mapped to IFC making the export straightforward.

This means that I will want to receive my information in the following file formats:

  • Native file formats (e.g. .rvt, .pla)
  • COBie (.xlsx)
  • PDF (.pdf)
  • IFC (.ifc)

And there you have it.  By outlining my Model Purposes and Data RequirementsI was able to outline what formats I want to receive my information in.  This means that I have now answered another Plain Language Question; PLQ1.3 Complete!

1.1 Have the model purposes been defined?
1.2 Are there any specific data requirements to achieve these purposes?
1.3 What format shall the information be delivered in?
1.4 What standards will be followed?
1.5 What level of accuracy/detail/development is required?
1.6 Is there sufficient information to produce an EIR?

Now that I know what formats to use.  I need to now establish what Standards I need to follow to ensure the quality of this information as well as to satisfy PLQ1.4…

Note:  If you have any comments regarding my intended information formats, then please let me know either on Twitter, or by commenting below.

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